Someone driving down our street yesterday hit a raccoon and it didn’t take long for a huge turkey vulture to drop in for a snack. The bird pulled the raccoon off the street and into our yard so it could eat in peace, away from traffic. They are somewhat homely looking birds and they are quite large. Here are a few photos; I suspect that raccoon will be history soon.
The weather conditions were similar this year – maybe not as bitterly cold – and the lighthouse froze over again. Wanting another chance to photograph it, we headed to the Lake Erie shore on the west harbor of the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, Ohio. While the coating of ice on the lighthouse did not appear as thick as it was in 2010, and there was no ice at all on Lake Erie today, it was still a beautiful sight. The color of the icy lighthouse seemed to change with the amount of sunlight; as a small cloud passed overhead, the ice coating became a dull gray. In the bright light, it looked very white, with just hints of a cream color. Despite the sun, it was very cold and very windy, making it hard to take a quiet video. I thought I’d share it anyway, along with some photos, including one of the old Coast Guard Station which stands nearby.
There were high wind warnings in northeast Ohio yesterday, and when the winds blow big, I like to watch the waves churn on Lake Erie. We visited Mentor Headlands State Park, where the winds were much stronger than those just a few miles inland. The waves did not disappoint. The wind at the time was roughly 35-40 mph sustained, with gusts to 50. (Some areas reported gusts of 60 mph.) As the crashing waves hit the wind, they exploded in huge sprays of water. We walked the dunes trail, and while the wind was stiff heading east, when we turned west to head back to our car, it was so strong it was very difficult to walk. But it was worth it to catch some of those waves! Here are a few photos.
We’ve had red-shouldered hawks visit our yard, nesting close by, for decades. Last year, we watched as a pair raised a brood of two. This year, a pair - maybe the same one from last year - has been spending quite a bit of time in our yard over the last few days. I was able to get several photos today, and was fortunate that the pair perched in my back yard so close together that I could get them in one frame. Here are a few photos from today’s action; hopefully they’ll have another brood this year.
Temperatures are unseasonably warm for February – it was already 74 degrees by noon here in Northeast Ohio. We decided to visit the Girdled Road Reservation, part of Lake Metroparks, and check out the suspension walking bridge over Big Creek. The hike to the bridge is a little over a half mile from the parking lot, and one segment is down a steep trail. Walking down is not a big problem, but be prepared for the steep walk back up! Thankfully, I bring along my husband who can assist in carrying the heavy camera gear when coming back up the steep trail.
I also didn’t brave the walk over the suspension bridge. It’s only a little over a year old so it is in tip-top shape, but the wobbly bridge deck can pose a problem for those prone to motion sickness (like me) or don’t have a steady gait. My husband did walk out a short way. While I was taking pictures, a runner ran over the bridge at full speed and that bridge deck was moving up and down like crazy. I am surprised the runner kept his balance! Still, the bridge allows for access across the river and to more trails throughout this huge park.
We had record warm temperatures the day before – 69 degrees. While it was still chilly the next morning, the mid-40s before dawn in February is tolerable weather to do some stargazing and star photography. A slice of the moon was intruding but it wasn't bothersome. Here are photos that I took this morning, while some cirrus clouds crawled into the skies.
Snow melt and heavy rain caused many of the area rivers to exceed flood stage. At about 3:15 on February 7, 2017, the river gauges showed the Chagrin River in Willoughby, Ohio at 12.89 feet. Daniels Park in Willoughby was closed off due to the high water, so we headed to Chagrin River Park, which has higher banks and a walking bridge over the river for safe viewing of the rushing waters. Here is a short video plus two photos taken while the water level was probably at or near its peak.